Archive for the 'Go Read This Now' Category

‘Obesity’ costs skewed for shock value? Duh!

The fatosphere is always talking about how the ‘costs of obesity’ are inflated for shock value and to influence public policy and spending – and at last we have a leading actuary who has confirmed that the costs of Australia have been vastly over-estimated. Instead of $58 billion, he states the actual costs are only $8.8 billion – but I guess that just doesn’t have the same ZING!

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

A leading actuary has lampooned health lobby figures on the costs of smoking and obesity as being extravagantly inflated and based on suspect methodology.

“The numbers are all over the place,” writes Geoff Dunsford in the September edition of Actuary Australia. And they are “big numbers” – the implication being that they are too big.


The sheer size of the numbers, argues the Sydney actuary, perverts government policy. It can lead to poor spending decisions. The credibility of the numbers from the health lobby is therefore critical to government policy.

The press and the public have been led to believe that the costs to the system are higher than they really are so the government can “justify use of taxpayers’ money on measures to reduce its prevalence and prevention”.


Access Economics estimated the cost of obesity to Australia at $58.2 billion. And sure enough, this enormous headline number promptly bobbed in the press.

On Dunsford’s analysis, however, the figures are flawed, skewed by the “non-financial” estimates to make obesity seem a lot more costly to the taxpayer than it really is.

The costs break down as $3.9 billion for the health care system, $4.4 billion in “other” costs relating to lost work days, taxes forgone and other productivity losses.

More detailcan be found in the article (Be warned: the comments are full of fat-hate.)

Diversity of opinion

Lindsay has a post up discussing the recent conflicts and power struggles in the fatosphere:

There is one thing that FA blogs have in common across the board: we believe that it is wrong to mistreat someone because they are fat. That’s it.

Diversity of opinion is a large part of what I value in the fatosphere. As I’ve said before:

Fat Acceptance is (clearly!) not monolithic. Nor should it be. We have a range of view points, a range of goals, and a range of ideas on how best to achieve those goals. That’s great. Every little raindrop counts.

Go read this now

I know we all read the fatosphere feed, but there is such a high volume, it can be easy to miss stand out posts. And so, with this in mind:

Bri has an absolutely brilliant post up at the moment examining models of illness in relation to fat. Definitely a ‘must read’. Continue reading ‘Go read this now’

For Those That Are Interested…

Here is a link to the Real Audio of the program on Blogging that aired today on The Buzz (ABC Radio National). I am on towards last third of the program. Alternatively, you can read the transcipt.

All in all, I am pretty happy with what I said, how it went to air and how I came across.




December 2019
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